The Buffalo Sabres will have a decision to make regarding Zach Benson, which could necessitate a recall for another prospect.
So far in 2023-24, the Buffalo Sabres have played or recalled several prospects including Zach Benson, Matt Savoie, Ryan Johnson, Brandon Biro, and Lukas Rousek. Biro and Rousek look as though they are better suited for the AHL at the moment while Matt Savoie’s trial didn’t even last four minutes.
Zach Benson and Ryan Johnson have looked great, but the question remains whether the Sabres want to burn Year 1 of the former’s entry-level contract. Benson could make the decision for them tonight, but if he falters, then the ball returns to the Sabres court. If that occurs, there is one prospect in Rochester who could see a recall.
His name? Jiri Kulich, who I have vouched for in the not-so-distant past to see a call-up to the Blue and Gold. Kulich wasn’t all-world in the preseason or camp, but he also didn’t look like he couldn’t handle the NHL game. And his production so far in the AHL this season should give Sabres fans a lot of hope.
Buffalo Sabres prospect Jiri Kulich isn’t worried about a recall, and rightfully so
Kulich, however, isn’t thinking about whether the Sabres will call him up from the Rochester Americans. And that’s the right mentality to have, as it shows us that the 19-year-old is focused only on what he can control, a true testament to maturity beyond his years. In an article from Bill Hoppe of Buffalo Hockey Beat, Kulich was rather straightforward with his answer:
"“I’m not thinking about it because now I’m in Rochester and I want to play my best here.”"
Logistically, Kulich could be the next recall should the Buffalo Sabres go in a direction other than Benson. While Isak Rosen has passed up Kulich in points with 17 in 14 contests, Kulich leads the team in goals scored with 10, and he’s still averaging a point per game. So it’s clear the forward would dramatically help a team struggling to score.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Zach Benson is still the front-runner to remain in Buffalo, but one bad game could bring Kulich into the conversation. We will know more on how this will play out following the Sabres tilt against the Washington Capitals.
(Statistics provided by theAHL.com)